Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Week 1 Lines and Predictions

Georgia vs Oklahoma State 6:45 ESPN2
Line: Georgia -6.5; 54

OSU returns nucleus of an offense that ranked 7th nationally in scoring and was one of only two teams in the country to avg 200 yards rushing and passing (Boise St) per game. RB Dantrell Savage was at his best in some of the biger games rushing for 112 or more vs TAM, NEB, TT, Baylor, Alabama. New DC Tim Beckman comes from Ohio State trying to correct a glaring weakness - Defense. Cowboys special teams usually one of the better units in teh nation and returns PK, P, and KR. Despite all of that offensive fire power, Okie State would have trouble stopping a good high school team on defense. Georgia is at home, they are well coached, and have a budding star at QB. Now I don't think this will end up like Boise State's visit a few years back, but I do think Georgia will win. Their defense is good enough to slow the Cowboys a few possessions each half. The underrated Georgia offense will be able to gain a lot of confidence and put up some points. I think Oklahoma State keeps it close for 3.5 quarters, but Georgia pulls away at the end.

Georgia Covers, Over

Notre Dame vs Georgia Tech 3:30 NBC

Line: Notre Dame -2.5; 46

A lot of questions surrounding this Notre Dame team. Charlie Weis has yet to name a starting QB even though he knows who it is. My guess is Demetris Jones, a running QB similar to Pat White who tore through the GT Defense in the Gator Bowl (don't think Weis overlooked that). But I definitely expect to see true frosh Jimmy Clausen at some point in the first half as well. Georgia Tech's Taylor Bennett will be starting his first road game ever and despite a great performance in the Gator Bowl last year it has to be said that he did sit behind Reggie Ball for three years, so I am tepid on what exactly he can do in the first game. I think Georgia Tech has better talent than ND, but the Irish will force the Jackets to beat them left-handed - that is to say they will stack the line and make Bennett beat them with his arm. If Tech can slow a running QB and get pressure on the passers, they will make for a long day for the ND offense. I think eventually Tashard Choice will break free for some big games. It will be a very close game, but i think Georgia Tech comes out on top.

Georgia Tech Wins, Covers, Under

California vs Tennessee 8:00 ABC

Line: Cal -6; 53.5

The late news heading into this game is the status of Erik Ainge's broken pinkie. The Vols have said he will play and it should have little impact. Cal remembers the thrashing they took last year in Knoxville and has been talking about it. Tennessee has not made much mention of it. This game is huge for the perception of Cal and the Pac -10. The Bears have the most dynamic playmaker in the country in DeSean Jackson, a returning QB (Nate Longshore), and a capable back (Justin Forcett). I think it is important for Cal to grab momentum early (like Tennessee did last year) and jump on top. If they can do that, the crowd and emotion of the first game will carry them through. If they let Tennessee hang around, then the depth and talent of the Vols may overcome late in the game.
I think Tennessee is in flux right now with new starters on offense, a previously suspended RB, and know an injury to Ainge.

Cal Wins, Covers, Over

Clemson vs Florida State 8:00 ESPN (Monday 8:00)

Line: FSU -3.5; 45.5

Clemson has won three straight in this series and has FSU at home for a shot at four in a row. Jimbo Fisher is calling the plays now, but it remains to be seen whether Drew Weatherford can improve his consistency over his first two years. Clemson will be starting a QB without a college start (either Cullen Harper or true freshamn Wily Korn). FSU will stack the line with 8 or 9 guys near the line of scrimmage to stop that potent Clemson backfield tandem and make the Tigers throw to win. I think this game will be a low scoring, defensive struggle. I have seen some book giving Clemson even money on the line, which leads me to believe that a lot of money is going FSU's way. I like FSU to break Clemson's three game winning streak, but not cover the spread.

FSU Wins, Clemson Covers, Under

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